3. The Hero?
Saeflod smirked, proud of his craftiness. He stood in a small cave in the volcano that was Thaelbracuna. Eight months ago, it had been a sheer rock face. However, he had conceived a plan so brilliantly devious, he was promoted immediately from private to corporal by his commanding officer, Lieutenant Scurdan.
He surveyed this spot from a long distance, until he had learned every detail of the schedule of the patrols that passed it, which were completely systematic, like the rest of the Thaelbracunan military. Therefore, it only took him a few days to learn the pattern.
Then, he searched for a slight weak point in the stone, and used a hand drill to make a hole in it at that point. It took him several weeks, because he had only very short windows of time between patrols to do it. Once the hole was drilled, he placed a vial of water into it. The heat of the air around him, he hoped, would cause the water to expand.
The next day, the hole had grown by a very slight margin. He did this again and again, using a larger vial each time. Later on, he refined his method, using a container that could easily expand, meaning that he only had to add water and cast the spell each day.
The hole grew exponentially, and had to be camouflaged after only a month had passed. Eventually, it became large enough to hide first sapphires with a surveillance spell cast on them, and then even people.
It was now somewhere in between a forward operating base and a surveillance outpost.
His technique was so successful, the Styrenesian military had implemented it all over Thaelbracuna, allowing them to watch nearly everything that happened there, except in the city itself.
Today, he was here to restock it with weapons, as a back up cache for emergencies, and to check for signs that the Thaelbracunans had found it. As usual, the incompetence of the Thaelbracunan defense garrison had made his life much easier; as a result of their wildly predictable patrol patterns, no enemy soldier would ever come close enough to see it.
Brutes. He laughed, thinking of how easily he had managed to wipe out an entire squadron yesterday. I could have shouted, "I'm right here, kill me!" and those fools still wouldn't have won!